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Full text of "Unto the least of these : a history of the Children's Receiving Home in Maywood, Illinois, an achievement of the Lutheran Woman's League of Chicago and Vicinity"

ILDROSS HISTCPJCAL SURVEY. 



^,^ 



^^ 




This limited edition consists 

of one thousand copies 

of which this is 

No. ^/^^ 



UNTO THE LEAST OF THESE 



Committee 

MRS. M. L. KROPF 
MRS. G. P. LOTTICH 
MRS. J. L. FORCH, JR. 
MRS. E. J. MOSSER 



UNTO THE LEAST 
OF THESE 



By 
ESTHER GERBERDING HUNT 



A History of 

The Children s Receiving Home 

in lAaywood, Illinois 

An Achievement of 

The Lutheran Woman's Leagtie 

of Chicago and Vicinity 



Lutheran Woman's League of Chicago and Vicinity 

1939 






DEDICATED TO 



The members of the 

Lutheran Woman's League of Chicago 

and Vicinity, 

whose faith, devotion, 

and untiring e'fforts 

have made possible 

The Children's Receiving Home, 

May wood, Illinois, 



FOREWORD 



This is by no means a history of The Lutheran 
Woman's League founded in 1893. That re- 
mains to be written by a jar more gifted pen. 
This is the story in brief of its united service for 
the past twenty years, the founding and main- 
taining of The Children's Receiving Home, 
May wood, Illinois. 



CHAPTER 



The World War was over. The cannons* thunder 
and the war activities had ceased. In our fair land 
there was peace. The stars, representing 1107 sons in 
the service, had been removed from the names of the 
mothers in the Year Book of the Lutheran Woman's 
League. Once again there was time and quiet to 
consider the question which had been dormant for so 
long: "Why cannot we," the women again insisted, 
"have a mutual interest, something definite to work 
for, something that will really unite us ?" 

Some daring souls suggested an Old People's 
Home, some a Day Nursery, but it remained for a 
Committee, appointed after hearing a stirring address 
on the work of the Juvenile Court and the dependent 
children to be provided for, to conceive the brilliant 
idea of a Children's Receiving Home. 

Into the Juvenile Court — of sorrow and heartache 

— go hundreds of parents and children every day. 

1 



2 Unto the Least of These 

Children are taken from parents, and homes are 
broken up when parents cannot properly care for 
their children. The Court has 2,155 children under its 
care in foster homes; 2,500 in orphanages and other 
institutions; 100 under temporary care. But when a 
Lutheran child was to be cared for the big question 
was where could a temporary home and shelter be 
found .^ Fortunately there was one bright spot in 
this dark picture. 

Sister Caroline Williams, representing the Norwe- 
gian Lutheran Church, was a Court worker, and a 
member of the Lutheran Woman's League. Only 
too often when the Judge assigned Lutheran children 
to her care she had no where to place them. With- 
out Sister Caroline's experience and assistance, her 
calm and beautiful personality, and, most of all, her 
firm faith, there could have been no Children's Re- 
ceiving Home. It was a great honor in later years 
to have her heralded over the radio as one of Chi- 
cago's outstanding women. 

When some of these facts, and many more, had 
been brought to the attention of The League, a 
Committee was appointed to formulate some plan 
for united effort. 




z 






Unto the Least of These 3 

One beautiful autumn day, they met in one of the 
cheerful homes on the Seminary campus in May- 
wood, a rather remarkable group of women, all un- 
aware that they were making history. The names 
are familiar; all outstanding women full of faith 
and good works. 

Mrs. L. Harrisville, Chairman 
Sister Caroline Williams 
Mrs. M. L. Kropf 
Mrs. George Sonne 
Mrs. A. Ofstedahl 
Mrs. William Eckert 
Mrs. Elmer F. Krauss 
Mrs. W. C. Nelson 
Mrs. E. H. Pfafflin 

The gracious and charming hostess, Mrs. E. F. 
Krauss, has since been called to her Heavenly Home, 
hut for almost a score of years her untiring labors 
for the Home, her inspiring reports on the floor 
at the quarterly meetings, her friendship and good 
will, were a source of inspiration and encouragement 
to carry on the good work. 

This Committee met three times and was ready to 
report at the very important meeting on January 18, 



4 Unto the Least of These 

1919. This was held in Unity Church, the retiring 
President, Mrs. William Eckert, presiding. All other 
business took second place that day. The speaker, 
the late Dr. G. H. Gerberding, was entirely ignored 
for lack of time but was given a few moments in 
which to voice his warm appreciation of the women's 
efforts. The election of new officers was secondary. 
All interest and all thought centered about the re- 
port of the above mentioned Committee. In brief, 
the Committee had recommended that a Home be 
estabhshed for children from the Juvenile Court, and 
other dependent children, that the Lutheran Wom- 
an's League have full control of the Home, and that 
a fund be started at once for such purposes. 

The recommendations were passed enthusiastically, 
and it was a most dramatic moment when Mrs. M. L. 
Kropf was appointed to take charge of a drive, then 
and there, to raise funds, with the result that pledges 
and cash were received amounting to $1,170.00. 

The climax was reached when so many women 
arose to their feet at the same time, all eager to 
pledge, that clerks were required to assist in getting 
their correct names and addresses, so wholehearted 
and generous was the response. 



Unto the Least of These 5 

On motion, Mrs. M. L. Kropf was appointed Chair- 
man of a Board to be appointed later, and with the 
exception of one year has served as Chairman of the 
Board of Managers for the past two decades. 

Her outstanding personality, her never ceasing 
interest in the Home, her generous gifts, and, above 
all, her ability to inspire and enthuse, have, no doubt, 
been the biggest factor in making the Home what 
it is today. 

Armed with the fund raised at the January meet- 
ing, 1919, and with unlimited faith, a Committee con- 
sisting of Sister Caroline Williams, and Mrs. A. F. 
Olgen (now called to Life Eternal), set forth to find 
a suitable location for this great project. Mrs. Kropf 
came to their assistance by providing the means of 
transportation. Her machine was used to traverse 
the great city of Chicago from its beautiful lake shore 
to its outlying suburbs. 

It was well, indeed, that these couragous women 
had not the slightest idea of the difficulties to be 
overcome. In their innocence they fondly imagined 
that by the next quarterly meeting, to be held in 
April, a location would have been secured. They 



6 Unto the Least of These 

soon discovered that, if a suitable building for a 
Home were found, the Committee would have to 
secure the signatures of all property owners to lo- 
cate there. No one wished a Children's Receiving 
Home as a neighbor, as indeed who would? The 
house hunting went on unsuccessfully for three 
months. It commenced to look as if there would be 
no report to give at the April meeting of the Luth- 
eran Woman's League. But the women were un- 
daunted. By this time the husbands had become in- 
terested. The late Dr. Hunt said to the late Rev. Dr. 
Long, who deserves a special chapter alone, "What 
about giving the women permission to use your 
vacant parish house as a temporary Receiving 
Home?" The result was that Mrs. Kropf and Sister 
Caroline Williams were asked to appear before the 
Board of Trustees of The Wicker Park Church. 

It was most surprising to the Chairman of The 
Board of Managers to confront so many of her own 
relatives on this Church Board with so strange a 
request. The men, however, were not willing to give 
a definite answer. The women left feeling that 
their errand had been a complete failure. In one 



Unto the Least of These 7 

way it was a victory for the unfailing help, sym- 
pathy and interest of Dr. S. P. Long had been en- 
listed. 

After the meeting in January the Lord provided 
the help of another outstanding man, Mr. E. J. Mos- 
ser, of keen legal mind. The League had never 
been chartered, and without a charter the Board 
would have been unable to either lease or buy prop- 
erty. The legal machinery was at once put in mo- 
tion, and many were the hours spent in Mr. Mosser's 
office in conference with the State Agent for the 
Department of Public Welfare and the Committee. 

This Committee was composed of Esther M. Hunt, 
President of the Lutheran Woman's League, Martha 
Baker Lottich, Secretary, who has since served tire- 
lessly as a member and Secretary of the Board of 
Managers, also Historian of The League, and for 
years the talented Editor of The Children's Home 
Herald, and Louise Valbracht, Treasurer, who has 
since been called Home. It is interesting to note 
that she was the mother-in-law of the present very 
efficient and tireless president, Mrs. E. F. Valbracht. 

During these transactions it became necessary to 



8 Unto the Least of These 

revise the old Constitution of The Lutheran Woman's 
League. An effort was made to change the letter 
but not the spirit. After many delays, and some 
doubts and fears, due to the ceaseless efforts of Mr. 
Mosser, who through the twenty years has given 
much valuable, legal assistance, the charter was issued 
on May 20, 1919, signed by Louis L. Emmerson, Sec- 
retary of State. 

It gives the Lutheran Woman's League of Chi- 
cago and Vicinity permission "to establish, maintain 
and operate, without profit, a home or homes for 
dependent children," and names as its object "to 
promote and advance the interest and activities of 
The Lutheran Church." 

Meantime, the search for the Home continued. 
Dr. Long had joined the force. Mrs. Krauss and 
Mrs. Eckert had called the attention of the Com- 
mittee to a beautiful property in Maywood, Illinois, 
and secured figures on the same. Just at this time, 
another Committee was scouring the city in search 
of a building suitable for a hospice for the Inner 
Mission Society. One eventful day representatives of 
the two committees joined forces and visited the 



Unto the Least of These 9 

above mentioned property in May wood. When Dr. 
Long saw it he said "The search is ended; here is 
the ideal location for the children." Some one ven- 
tured to ask "Are we looking for a hospice or a Chil- 
dren's Home.'^" The children won. 

Meanwhile, the April meeting of The Lutheran 
Woman's League was fast approaching. It had 
seemed for a while that the Committee would have 
no report. However, on the very day of the meet- 
ing, early in the morning, at seven forty-five, Mrs. 
M. L. Kropf, Sister Caroline Williams and Mrs. A. 
F. Olgen, arrived in May wood. After a breakfast 
on the campus, accompanied by Dr. Long, they made 
a thorough investigation of the property. 

It consisted of a whole city block, located at 902 
S. 8th Avenue, Maywood, Illinois. It was bounded 
on the north by 9th Street, south by Madison Street ; 
8th Avenue on the east, and 9th Avenue on the west. 

Many valuable and rare trees and shrubs were on 
the grounds, and the house itself was substantial, 
well built, home-like and sunny. 

There was a large sun room suitable for sleeping 
quarters for the children, large porches, a basement. 



10 Uiito the Least of These 

which could be used as a play room, and a good heat- 
ing plant. There was also an old barn on the prop- 
'^rty about which, for some time, many dreams of 
a gymnasium centered or a boy's dormitory, until 
it was discovered that the wood was in no shape for 
remodeling. 

This property was oiTered for the astonishing price 
of ten thousand dollars. The Committee was en- 
thusiastic and hastened in Mrs. Kropfs car again 
to the already assembled meeting of the Lutheran 
Woman's League. Their report was adopted with 
much joy and thankfulness, and, from that time on, 
all the efforts of the League and its acting committees 
centered about the purchase of the property. 

It was just at this juncture that Dr. S. P. Long 
offered to lead the campaign for funds. His offer 
was accepted with much gratitude. Five hundred 
dollars was paid as security. By July three thousand 
two hundred dollars had been paid, and Dr. Long's 
congregation in Wicker Park went security for the 
remaining six thousand eight hundred. 

When asked if he thought the surplus could be. 
raised Dr. Long replied : "I do not think so, I know 



Unto the Least of These 11 

it can be done." The mails were flooded with litera- 
ture and the campaign was on. 
Dear Miss Helen: 

I f{now God will make your coming year the hap- 
pier for your generous gift of fifty dollars received to- 
day. ThanJ{ you. I also than\ your good parents, 
and God I ]{now will give you the happiest year of 
your life. 

Most sincerely, 

S. P. Long 

The above is but an example of the personal touch 
which Dr. Long put into the campaign so that it 
was not merely a raising of money. It became dis- 
tinctive and personal. Its success was assured from 
the start. 

At this time also a Daughter's Auxiliary, organized 
but a year before these events, rallied to the support 
of the Home. They promised to furnish the dining 
room complete, furniture, dishes, silver, and assumed 
the payment of the janitor for seven months. 

The Luther League of Chicago furnished the 
Home with coal for winter, and, until 1931. Mean- 
while, all summer long, the ladies of the Wicker 
Park Ladies' Aid and Guild had been busy preparing 



12 Unto the Least of These 

linens for the Home, under the leadership of that 
good friend of the Home, Miss Marie Hanson. This 
same Guild pledged themselves to furnish the living 
room of the Home in honor of Dr. Long. 

Meanwhile, the Lutheran Woman's League of 
Chicago and Vicinity v^as preparing to celebrate its 
tvs^enty-fifth anniversary on the beautiful grounds of 
its newly acquired property. It was a great day for 
Chicago Lutherans in general, for on that date, Satur- 
day, September 27, 1919, the Children's Receiving 
Home was formally opened. It had been decided 
by the Board of Managers to use the occasion also 
as a Bundle Day for the Home. 

A unique and attractive folder had been mailed 
by the thousand; it was headed: "At last the big day 
is coming. Be sure to come to the party and bring 
your bundle." This folder was designed by the 
daughter of Mrs. Florence Walrath of The Cradle. 

The program was scheduled for three p.m., but 
as early as two o'clock people could be seen wending 
their way to 902 S. 8th Avenue with a bundle or two 
tucked under their arms. 

An interested friend, who could not attend, wrote 



Unto the Least of These 13 

the first letter to the children. "My bundle to you 
will contain a strip of bacon, and I will deliver it to 
you in time for your first breakfast." 

The day was a perfect September day. More than 
seven hundred interested friends gathered on the 
beautiful grounds. 

The daughter of the first president of the League, 
Mrs. Isabelle Matson Hoffman, was one of the speak- 
ers. The Daughter's Auxiliary furnished wonderful 
music. So great was the interest and enthusiasm 
that when the Rev. Dr. Long took charge, with his 
forceful personality, he received $3,600.00 in pledges. 

A hot supper had been prepared under the leader- 
ship of Mrs. J. Lindberg (a charter member of The 
League) and was served to all free of charge. This 
was an innovation, but the well filled pantry shelves 
proved its success. There were boxes of soap, cases 
of evaporated milk, more cases of canned vegetables, 
sacks of flour, bags of sugar, cereals of all kinds in 
quantities, cocoa, rice, whole hams, slabs of bacon, 
over a hundred quarts of home made preserves, in 
fact, enough of everything to feed the first little ones 
and feed them well. 



14 Unto the Least of These 

On October 20 the first child was admitted to the 
Home. Sister Caroline Williams reported others 
waiting. One of the first children admitted showed 
marks on her little body of having been frozen in a 
cold house. What a blessing that coal had been 
provided. A Matron had also been secured, and the 
work of which the women had dreamed so long was 
in progress. 

Thursday, November 27, at 4 :30 o'clock was a real 
Thanksgiving Day, for at the time the Home was 
formally dedicated. At this time there were nine 
children in the Home. 

The children's first Christmas party was held Wed- 
nesday afternoon, December 24, at two thirty. It 
was a very simple affair compared to the wonderful 
Christmas celebrations now held in the beautiful new 
building. But there were bountiful refreshments, 
many gifts, Christmas carols, a tree, and the old, but 
ever new, story of the Christmas Babe, very simply 
told. 

Needless to say, the wires were kept busy during 
those strenuous days and many, many were the tele- 
phone messages flashed back and forth by those in 



Ufito the Least of These 15 

office. Said the Chairman of The Board of Managers 
to the President of The League over the wire one 
evening after the dedication: ''I am beginning to 
feel that this thing is really going to go!" She had 
just reported the gift of an electric iron, wash ma- 
chine, and mangle to the Home. 

It would be out of the question in these few brief 
pages to report all the gifts made to the Home. They 
have all been recorded elsewhere, and all, from the 
first string of Christmas tree lights to the last will 
and testament of departed friends, have been duly 
appreciated though it seemed sometimes that thanks 
were but poorly expressed. 

There is the Ladies' Guild that through the years 
has given over ten thousand dollars; there is the 
other man, Mr. Fred Luhnow, who advanced his 
own money to enable Dr. Long to meet his notes in 
payment on the property; there is the Ladies' Aid 
of one church that for twenty years has paid five 
dollars a month for eggs for the children; there are 
other organizations and individuals who furnished 
the first beds and dressers; there is the Girls' Club, 
which has dressed two of the children for years; the 



16 Unto the Least of These 

friend who gave music lessons; the one who cut 
the children's hair; the friends who celebrated their 
golden wedding so beautifully by giving the Home 
one thousand dollars, and the kind friends who still 
provide each child a sum with which to do Christmas 
shopping. There is a Cleaning establishment in Oak 
Park which takes care of the cleaning of the chil- 
dren's clothes. And there is the good Doctor in 
Maywood who gives his services and asks but a book 
for a fee. 

This could continue unceasingly. All are stepping 
stones on which the present structure has been reared. 

"Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears, 
Our faith triumphant over fears, 
Are all with thee — Are all with thee." 



C H APTE R 



It is most interesting to note, in passing, how the 
homeless child was cared for years ago. Before the 
Civil War the states all clung to the old English 
"pauper-law." The homeless child was nobody's 
child. Orphan asylums were grim and gloomy. 
Boys as young as seven years old were "bound out" 
for their board and keep. Girls as young as ten were 
sent out as household drudges. 

It was way back in 1870 that New York, Ohio, and 
our own Illinois, set up state welfare bureaus to take 
over the guardianship of the homeless children with- 
in their boundaries. 

From that time on new principles were advocated. 

Scientists insisted that the child of misfortune is not 

fundamentally different from any other child; that 

his needs are the same and the deepest of these needs 

is to be wanted and given individual opportunity. 

These facts, and many others, had to be learned 

17 



18 Unto the Least of These 

by the women closely connected with and working 
for The Children's Receiving Home. All, with the 
exception of Sister Caroline, had had no experience, 
but the work was a liberal education. 

Just one year from the date of the purchase of the 
Home the debt was entirely canceled, owing to the 
ceaseless efforts of Dr. Long. 

The Home had been opened and dedicated, the 
first children received and the first guests formally 
entertained beside a roaring fire in the old fashioned 
fireplace. These happened to be delegates from 
France to a Brotherhood Convention. 

With their newly acquired property and their new- 
ly acquired family the women were more and more 
anxious to press on. The boundary lines of the dif- 
ferent groups were broken as never before. From 
the beginning of time women have been able to rally 
about that specific object, so dear to their hearts: "the 
child." 

True, there was one very stormy session of The 
League, when the old dues of fifty cents per annum 
were forever voted down and voluntary pledges sub- 
stituted. Also about this time Mrs. O. }. Waters, 



Unto the Least of These 19 

one of the founders of the League, was appointed 
to secure Life and Associate memberships. The year 
1921 ninety new Associate members were enUsted 
through the efforts of Mr. J. P. Hovland at a U.L.C. 
Brotherhood Convention. Other memberships, in 
Memoriam and Sustaining, were added as the years 
went by and have proved a source of much income 
for the Home. Aside from the money point of view, 
they have interested countless friends in the work 
of the Home. 

The second year of the Home in action was not as 
full of dramatic events as the first, but there was a 
steady normal progress. Twenty-five children were 
admitted during the year, and almost at once, showed 
the effect of good food and good care. 

One little fellow when received did not walk cor- 
rectly owing to malnutrition. In a few weeks this 
defect was remedied, and he was a normal, healthy 
child. 

At the beginning of the second year the Chair- 
man of the Board of Managers reported : "No debts, 
house in excellent condition, treasury in shape to 
meet all present bills." 



20 Unto the Least of These 

But the women were not content to rest on their 
laurels. Almost at once it became apparent that 
more room was necessary. Many children were re- 
fused because of lack of room. Also, an outbreak of 
whooping cough made it apparent that an isolation 
ward was needed. 

The women commenced to talk "building." Plans 
for a drive were formulated, but for a year or two, 
at least, these enthusiastic workers had to be content 
with the remodeling of the old barn into a laundry. 
This was a much needed improvement. Other re- 
pairs soon followed. Outside steps and porches were 
repaired, new grates in the furnace installed, ceiling 
and walls calcimined, a new cupboard installed, and 
the whole building rewired. 

Most important of all, the children entering the 
Home learned high standards of living. They were 
shown the difference between right and wrong, and 
after being in the Home a very short time a marked 
change for the better was apparent. 

Meantime, the Lutheran Woman's League had 
elected a new President, Mrs. Peter Peterson, capable 
and efficient, thus binding the different groups still 



Unto the Least of These 21 

more closely together. The two years that followed 
were rather eventful. The first two children were 
confirmed in St. John's Church, Maywood, Illinois. 
This church has proved itself a real church home for 
the children from the very beginning. The children 
have attended Sunday School, confirmation classes, 
and church services. They have been shown every 
kindness and consideration. 

It was just about this time that a Kindergarten 
was suggested for the children, but it remained for 
the Daughter's Auxiliary, ever helpful, to make this 
a reality some years later. 

The first little one at the Home to pass away was 
Philip Nathaniel on June 8 of that year. He had 
never been a well baby, having a weak heart, but 
to have been given a good home and made com- 
fortable shows again the work of the Home. The 
Pastor of St. John's Church had christened the baby 
and conducted the burial service. At this time The 
Children's Receiving Home was admitted into mem- 
bership into The Children's Benefit League of Chi- 
cago, which entitled the Home to the privileges of 
Tag Day. 



22 Unto the Least of These 

The Children's Benefit League was founded about 
thirty years ago, consisting of a group of public 
spirited women who realized the great need for 
concerted work in behalf of child-caring institutions 
of Chicago. These women put forth their efforts 
toward collecting funds for these little ones. To 
this end a Tag Day was planned. This is a day 
whereon thousands of women give of their leisure 
time, selling tags on the streets of Chicago and its 
suburbs, thus helping to provide food, shelter, and 
recreation for a vast number of underprivileged chil- 
dren. There is a vast amount of business and dis- 
tribution of territory before these women can go 
out on the streets of the big city to tag. Very strict 
rules and regulations have been formulated. 

Therefore, it was a day of great rejoicing when 
the members of the League were allowed to share 
these privileges. The territory allotted to them was 
not of the best, but they were undaunted. Some will 
never forget the thrill of that first tag day. Even 
the Mayors of neighboring suburbs had been called 
for permission to "tag." 

A delicious dinner for the taggers, followed by 



Unto the Least of These 23 

inspirational addresses (again under the leadership 
of Miss Marie Hansen), had been served the eve- 
ning before in the Wicker Park Church. 

Many an alarm clock sounded so early in the dav^'n 
that it was still dark. One devoted "Captain" sup- 
plied coffee and sandwiches to her workers in the 
grey light of the morning under the elevated tracks. 
The day was bright and clear, and on the whole the 
taggers met kindness and courtesy on the city streets. 
Mrs. A. F. Olgen, a founder of the League, with 
failing eyesight, tagged for many, many years on the 
same corner until she was called hence just a short 
year ago. Her box contained more than one ten 
dollar bill. Some of the taggers were photographed 
and their pictures appeared in the daily papers. 
When tired, almost to the point of exhaustion, they, 
one by one, turned in their boxes at the Hotel Sher- 
man, where space had been granted through the 
kindness of Mr. G. E. Thon, who befriended the 
Home in many ways. The boxes were found to 
contain the amazing sum of $2,094.77. From that 
day to this Tag Day has been the biggest source of 
ready cash for the Home. 



24 Unto the Least of These 

Meanwhile the women had not forgotten their 
plans for building. They planned for a boys' dormi- 
tory and decided to put on "a drive." While they 
planned they prayed, and "all the time they worked." 

They worked, as has been said, on street corners 
on Tag Day, in the Home auditing accounts, sewing 
and mending, in rummage sales on all sides of the 
city, in bazaars, teas, luncheons, concerts, and other 
activities too numerous to mention. At one time, 
later, they sponsored a picture in the Old Eighth 
Street Theatre for a week. 

The women did not forget for one minute the 
need for more room. Sister Caroline reported more 
children waiting. 

In her report for 1922 the President said: "Why 
we did not build. I might mention first of all 
the price of building material. We have cherished 
the hope that prices would come down. Then 
there is the unsettled labor condition. Last, but 
not least, reason for our hesitancy is that when 
we closed our campaign for the building fund we 
found we had not raised one-half the required 
amount." 

But what of the character and body building of 



Utito the Least of These 25 

the children received during those first years? 

Everyone felt that the Home was filling a real 
need, though, by this time, not all of the children 
received were from the Juvenile Court. 

There was little Jack who was taken in from the 
Augustana Nursery. He had been sent out for 
adoption several times and each time returned be- 
cause he was threatened with total blindness. The 
Nursery then applied to the Receiving Home, and 
the lad was made a member of that happy family. 

At times a Pastor would apply on behalf of some 
unfortunate child and wherever possible room was 
made for the little one. 

One bitter cold day, in these early years, Sister 
Caroline brought to the Home three children, all 
from one family. They had practically no clothing 
but had to be wrapped in automobile blankets to be 
kept from freezing. Their feet had been badly 
frozen and their poor little undernourished bodies 
were bruised and scarred. When conditions in their 
home (too poor to be called a home) had improved 
somewhat the children were taken back to their 
parents. What a life of poverty, cruelty and suffer- 
ing they must have lived can only be dimly imagined. 



26 U72to the Least of These 

Six children lived in three rooms on a wind-swept 
prairie in a nearby suburb. One very cold day in 
winter, walking home from school, one of the little 
girls spoke to an officer along the way asking him 
in a pathetic, childish way if he could not take her 
to The Maywood Home. The officer, being very 
human, questioned the child, with the result that 
he took her to the Detention Home for children. 
Here, too, her little feet were found to be frozen 
and her body bruised and scarred. An officer was 
sent to bring back with him three of the children 
who were sent to different homes because there was 
no "room in the Inn," the Receiving Home being 
filled to overflowing. Sister Caroline has never en- 
couraged "sob stories," but an incident such as the 
above made the women redouble their efforts and 
renew their determination to build a larger and bet- 
ter Home. Meanwhile, the children of school age 
were attending the Maywood Public Schools, where 
they easily kept pace with other children of the same 
age. They were always well dressed, interested, and 
alert, and their faces were bright and shining. 

A heavy fence with iron posts was erected around 
the property. 



U7Jto the Least of These 27 

The first legacy of five thousand dollars was re- 
ceived from the Isabella New^ton Estate. It was in- 
vested immediately in bonds at six per cent. 

The Year Book of The Lutheran Woman's League 
for 1924 contained the following: 

"I would like to greet you in behalf of the chil- 
dren who have found a home in our Maywood 
Home. We have orphans, half-orphans, and some 
who have been deserted by their parents. Have 
we not reason to rejoice when we realize that the 
Master has permitted us to care for these — His very 
own? They may be forsaken by parents but they 
are very precious to our King, and I am sure they 
are also precious to the King's Daughters, the mem- 
bers of The Lutheran Woman's League. We thank 
Him for using us in His service and pray for grace 
to do more in the future. 

"Forgetting the things which are behind, and 

stretching forward to the things which are before, 

I press on toward the goal, unto the prize of the 

high calling of God in Christ Jesus."— P^// 3:13-14. 

"Yours in the Master's Service, 

"Caroline Williams" 



CHAPTER 



It was 1924, and a new President was in the chair 
of The Lutheran Woman's League, Mrs. E. J. Mos- 
ser, active, resourceful, and always interested in the 
work of the Home. It was five years since the first 
child had been admitted. No child had been re- 
fused entrance save for one or two very good rea- 
sons — lack of room or contagious illness among the 
children. Owing to unavoidable circumstances there 
had been several changes of personnel in the man- 
agement at the Home. Up to this time four devoted 
Christian women had given the children a mother's 
love and care — Mrs. Shunck, Miss Anderson, Miss 
Rorem, Miss Esther Carlson. The first three had 
been compelled for personal reasons to give up the 
work. 

But the Chairman of The Board of Managers was 
not changed and never gave up. She continued her 
plans for a new building. Here are her own reasons 

28 




> 
Q 

Z 
Z 
> 



Ujito the Least of These 29 

for urging the women to support the Children's 
Receiving Home at May wood: 

"Because it is a real home, not an institution." 

"Because the children are kept off the streets, 
the fenced in grounds being ideal for a play- 
ground." 

"Because the seed of Good-Will, kindliness and 
thoughtfulness, is being diligently nourished." 

"Because it is for dependent children who 
might otherwise be sent to a state institution on 
account of lack of room in such homes as ours." 

"Because the children entrusted to the care of 
The Children's Receiving Home, Maywood, are 
receiving a Christian upbringing; their daily life 
is one of right living." 

"Because our children attend Sunday School 
and church service regularly." 

"Because our children love the Home as you 
would never doubt when you look into their 
happy faces." 

"Because the true family life is lived, and each 
child knows that he or she is a unit of this family 
group and the very best is expected of each one." 



30 Unto the Least of These 

"Because when our children are ill they re- 
ceive watchful care." 

"Because at all times they are appropriately 
dressed; warm clothing for cold weather, sim- 
ple washable clothes for summer." 
The Daughter's Auxiliary, meanwhile, was keep- 
ing in close touch with the work and giving their 
moral support as well as their ever-ready cash dona- 
tions. 

By this time the Home had sheltered over a hun- 
dred children at various times. It had been endorsed 
by the Chamber of Commerce through the efforts 
of an ever helpful friend, Mr. J. P. Hovland. 

As usual, many beautiful affairs were given for 
the Home. Outstanding was the concert given in 
Orchestra Hall on March 31 by the famous St. Olaf 
Lutheran Choir. There were no vacant seats on that 
occasion, and the Receiving Home netted a neat sum. 
One Chicago paper said — "We have exhausted terms 
of praise in behalf of this choir." 

Also, at this time the Home was fortunate in en- 
listing the interest of the Oak Park Branch of The 
Needlework Guild of America. It would be impos- 



Unto the Least of These 31 

sible to number the beautiful garments they have 
sent to the Home. This Guild is composed of women 
not necessarily members of The League, but women 
who have the desire for service. 

On the fifth anniversary of tlic Home the Board 
of Managers planned to publish a Cook Book. All 
members were asked for unusual or rare recipes. It 
was decided to finance the printing of the book 
through advertisements, and, once again, Mrs. G. P. 
Lottich gave willingly of her time and energy as 
chairman. The book was very popular, had a big 
sale and profited the Home. Amidst all these activi- 
ties the women had not lost sight of their goal. The 
President reported in 1924 the Koch legacy of one 
thousand dollars. 

The Chairman of the Board of Managers once 
again sounded the call to build when she closed her 
yearly report with these words : 

"Naturally, the big work before us this coming 
year is the building of the new dormitory. The 
longer we are in the work the more apparent is the 
tremendous need for room." 

At the same time Sister Caroline reported "a young 



32 Unto the Least of These 

mother, two lovely children, deserted by her hus- 
band, the two little ones taken into the Home, there 
to learn to know Him." 

"Another little boy left from babyhood entirely 
alone, without relatives of any kind, but God, the 
Father of the Fatherless, saw him and planned that 
this little boy should be lovingly cared for at our 
Maywood Home." 

But the women had been doing a great deal more 
than dreaming of a new building. It was in 1922 
that the first building committee had been selected. 
Sister Ingeborg Sponland was asked by the Board 
to become an advisory member of the committee 
because of her wide experience and excellent judg- 
ment. At all times she proved herself a most valu- 
able member. It was five years before the task of 
the building committee was completed. This may 
seem like a long time, but half of the period was 
spent in watchful waiting. 

As has been stated before, it was no time to build 
on account of the uncertainty of building conditions. 
However, one important decision was made. Ivar 
Viehe-Naess & Co. was the choice of architect. 



Unto the Least of These 33 

Tentative drawings were submitted and the vice- 
chairman, Alice Lanquist Forch, who served so 
faithfully during the strenuous building period, re- 
ported to the Lutheran Woman's League at the Octo- 
ber meeting in St. Paul's Church, Evanston, that the 
minimum cost of the building required to meet the 
needs would be $70,000. (Mrs. J. P. Howland, first 
chairman of the building committe, had left the city.) 

The League had then, as a result of the drive and 
legacies, between twenty and thirty thousand dollars. 
Were the women willing to assume a debt of over 
forty thousand dollars? 

The motion was made and carried unanimously. 
It was a tense moment. The good President of the 
League, Mrs. E. J. Mosser, looked over the thrilled 
and awed faces of the women and saw one of the 
pastors standing in the rear of the church. She im- 
mediately called him to the front to offer prayer; a 
prayer of thankfulness for the unlimited faith of 
the members of the League and for Divine guidance 
for the future of their great undertaking. At the 
close of the prayer the women sang, with the true 
spirit of thanksgiving, "Praise God from Whom all 
blessings flow." 



34 Unto the Least of These 

The very next day the Chicago daily papers an- 
nounced a legacy of approximately fifty thousand 
dollars for The Home from the late Col. Tuttle. 
Needless to say, the wires were kept busy again as 
the joyful news was passed from one woman to an- 
other. 

Said one beloved Vice-President, now loved and 
lost, to the President over the phone: "You can't see 
me, but tears of joy are streaming down my face for 
our beloved Home." "I don't quite understand you," 
said another to the Chairman of the Board of Man- 
agers. "I shouldn't think you would," she an- 
swered — "Fifty thousand dollars!" 







The Home in 1919 



Sister Carolina is a representative in the 

Juvenile Court 

Miss Mina Lichtner, Superintendent 



Sister 
Carolina 
William' 

Miss Mina 
Lichtner 





<&!?%'«' 




** j^ ;:? 



£,5^^ >•'— 







The Home in 1926 



CHAPTER 



The year 1925 was a busy year for the more than 
active Building Committee, consisting of Mrs. }. P. 
Hovland, Mrs. M. L. Kropf, Mrs. E. J. Mosser, Sis- 
ter Caroline Williams, and Mrs. John L. Forch, Jr., 
who so capably served as chairman. Eight meetings 
were held in consultation with the architects, and 
changes were made and improvements added from 
time to time. 

At the April meeting of the organization Mr. 
Viehe-Naess was present and submitted his plans. 
By a motion, made by Sister Caroline, and unani- 
mously carried, the Building Committee was author- 
ized to proceed at once with its task. In August the 
plans and specifications were furnished and accepted 
by The Trustees. 

On September 27 the corner stone was laid, with 
a beautiful service. Owing to the unavoidable ab- 
sence of Mrs. E. J. Mosser, Mrs. A. P. Fors, whose 

35 



36 Unto the Least of These 

passing was so sincerely mourned, presided. The 
little ones from the Home raised their happy voices 
in a hymn of praise, and the choir of Christ Church 
furnished beautiful music. The staunch friend of 
the Home from its beginning, Dr. S. P. Long, de- 
livered one of the addresses and Judge Victor Arnold 
the other. The Rev. C. E. Hoffsten laid the corner- 
stone with a beautifully worded service, which must 
have been original as no set form for such an occa- 
sion could be found. 

Thus saith the Lord: 
Behold, I lay for a foundation a stone, 
A tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure founda- 
tion. 
Salvation will I appoint for walls and bulwarks 
Justice will I mOike the line. 
And righteousness the plummet. 

Then I lifted up mine eyes and looked 

And, behold a man with a measuring line in his hand 

Then said I, Whither goest thou? 

And he said unto me, To measure the house. 

To see what is the breadth thereof 

And what is the length thereof. 

And it shall come to pass, that there shall come peo- 
ple 



Unto the Least of These 37 

Even the inhabitants of many cities, saying 

We also will go with you; 

For we have heard that God is with you. 

Wherefore be ye strong, all ye people, saith the Lord 

and worf^: 
For I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts. 

The house shall be builded, 
And this place will I fill with my glory. 
The silver is mine and the gold is mine: 
Great shall be the glory of this house. 
And in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of 
hosts. 

Members of the Daughter's Auxiliary were on the 
grounds helping as ever. It was a beautiful scene, 
just as the sun was setting, and the members of the 
League could well feel — "The Lord hath done great 
things for us, whereof we are glad!" 

October 3, 1926, was another red letter day for 
the Home and the League. Owing to unavoidable 
circumstances a new Superintendent, Mrs. Myrtle 
Hadley, had been secured and arrived just in time 
for the flitting from the old Home to the new. This 
was a very trying time to come as a stranger, but 
Mrs. Hadley did not remain a stranger long. The 
children felt at once that Mrs. Hadley held for them 



38 Unto the Least of These 

the same motherly attitude that Miss Carlson had 
always shown. The children were well organized, 
and the moving was accomplished with little con- 
fusion before the day of dedication. Although the 
day had been gloomy the sun shone in the afternoon, 
and it was possible to hold the exercises on the lawn. 
Dr. Long often told afterward how he had prayed 
for fair weather. The processional consisted of three 
vested choirs, the children of the Home, the new 
Superintendent, the Speakers and the Board of 
Trustees. 

On this occasion Dr. D. A. Davy performed the 
act of dedication. Dr. E. F. Krauss, of the Seminary 
at Maywood, and Judge Mary Bartelme, of the 
Juvenile Court, were the speakers. 

The new building cost approximately $100,000.00 
and was built to accommodate sixty children. There 
are study rooms, playrooms, reception rooms, dining 
rooms, both general and private, a kindergarten 
room, shop room for the boys, sewing room for the 
girls, and private rooms for the Superintendent and 
helpers. It is a first class structure in every way, 
fireproof throughout, and built to serve future gen- 




o 

oi 
Z 



Unto the Least of These 39 

erations. The architects and Committee did not 
lose sight for a minute of the original idea that it 
was to be a real Home in every sense of the word. 

There are also storerooms for food, vegetables and 
fruit, a complete kitchen and pantry with ample cup- 
board space and linen closets. There is electric re- 
frigeration and a completely equipped laundry. 
Good plumbing is used throughout and oak trim 
where wood is necessary. Also it boasts a very prac- 
tical heating plant. All floors and partitions are 
either tile or concrete. In fact, it is a building of 
which the Lutheran Woman's League may be justly 
proud and also the vicinity in which it is located. 
It is attractive in appearance, and the Chicago Dailies 
gave it much publicity. It is but a short distance 
from church, school, high school and playground. 

Mrs. Forch closed her report for 1927 with the 

following appropriate words: 

"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy 
name give the glory for Thy mercy and for Thy 
truth's sd\e." 

Of course, the next question was how to furnish 
a Home, so much larger, so many more rooms and so 



40 Unto the Least of These 

much more space. The 1927-1928 Year Book con- 
tains a list of the rooms furnished by various inter- 
ested friends and societies. Space would not permit 
listing them here, but it is interesting to note that 
in its report for that year the Daughter's Auxiliary 
stated that they had completed their pledge for the 
Kindergarten of the Home, also that the Infant Ward 
of The Home was to be furnished by those good 
friends of the children, Mr. and Mrs. William Meyer. 

The first Christmas in the new Home was a beau- 
tiful affair. The building was aglow with the Yule- 
tide colors. The friends who gathered were laden 
with gifts, and the children themselves gave the 
Christmas service in the beautiful hallway of the 
building. They also sang some of the old, but ever 
new, Christmas carols. 

It is worthy of record to know that at the first 
meeting of the Board of Managers in the new dormi- 
tory the usual form of opening was eliminated and 
each member of the Board, also the new Superin- 
tendent, gave a prayer of gratitude to the Heavenly 
Father who watches over the children of the Home. 
However, the Board of Managers opened every meet- 



Unto the Least of These 41 

ing held with a prayer for guidance and thankful- 
ness for mercies received. 

And now, that the great objective of the Lutheran 
Woman's League had been met, there were new re- 
sponsibihties and new demands. Mrs. Hadley in 
her first report listed fifty children with a storeroom 
to be replenished. The children were also to be 
clothed, kept strong and healthy and given spiritual 
training, so as to become useful members of society. 

Could the women rise to the occasion and keep up 
the same high standards for the Home ? They could 
and they did. 

That year the President reported, with much grati- 
tude, two other legacies of $500.00, the bequest of 
Mrs. Mary Meier of St. Luke's church, and $1,000.00 
from the estate of Mrs. Jacob Helmes of Epiphany 
church. At this time also the dream of The Daugh- 
ter's Auxiliary became a reality and a Kindergarten 
was in full force. It was indeed a happy sight to see 
the little ones, under school age, with beaming faces, 
so busily engaged in play and song. This depart- 
ment of the work was conducted by Miss Evelyn 
Gerberding, a trained kindergartener. Later, during 



42 Unto the Least of These 

the years of depression, this branch had to be closed 
for financial reasons, but it is to be sincerely hoped 
that some time it can be continued. The salary was 
paid by the Daughter's Auxiliary and the Educa- 
tional Fund of Wicker Park church. 

The Cook Book Fund by this time took care of 
the furniture for the children's dining room on the 
third floor; the dishes and silver in the main dining 
room and a washing machine. 

By this time there was a very active Bundle Day 
Committee. The women from the various churches 
were invited to choose their own day, spend it at the 
Home and bring their bundles with them. By this 
plan the pantry shelves were never quite empty nor 
the storeroom lacking in supplies. 

The Clothing Committee also continued to be very 
active under the leadership of Mrs. Elmer F. Krauss, 
who was instrumental in having groups of women 
come to the Home by the day to sew and mend. 
Mrs. Krauss made her yearly reports so interesting, 
so full of humor and the "personal touch" that more 
than one member of the organization said they at- 
tended the quarterly meeting only to hear her re- 



Unto the Least of These 43 

ports. This work is being successfully carried on 
by Mrs. William Eckert. 

Once again the Needlework Guild of America 
sent a box at Christmas time of one hundred and 
ten absolutely new garments. 

The old building was put in order with new paint 
and new porches to be used as isolation quarters and 
rooms for the helpers. The old basement was also 
equipped as a play room. 

Tag Day continued to be the biggest source of cash 
income. In Mrs. Hadley's first report she said : "The 
work of the Children's Receiving Home is one of 
cultivation, that the children entrusted to our care 
may be more attractive in body and spirit. We give 
them simple but nourishing food, plenty of sleep and 
exercise, and train them to love and reverence holy 
things and attend to the little courtesies of life." 



CHAPTER 



In 1928 Mrs. F. T. Westberg stepped into the chair 
of The Lutheran Woman's League and proved her- 
self entirely capable of fulfilling her trust. 

This was the first and only year that Mrs. M. L. 
Kropf did not serve as Chairman of the Board of 
Managers, Mrs. E. J. Mosser proved herself very effi- 
cient and active in that position for that year. 

These were years of steady growth and develop- 
ment. The children themselves proved this fact. 
After all, they are so much more important than or- 
ganization, finance or buildings of wood and stone. 
It is time to become more intimate with the children 
themselves, who at this time numbered fifty-seven. 

There was Mary — ^just Mary — in the Home, who 

had been there for years, attending both grade and 

high school as a student of highest honor. She left 

the Home at this time to take up nurses' training, 

again becoming a student of highest standing. 

44 



Unto the Least of These 45 

There was Lillian who had practically been raised 
in the Home, always ready to help, and always smil- 
ing. She became a member of the staff and after a 
time was married. There was a real wedding in 
the Home, just like a wedding in any home, with 
showers and gifts and bridesmaids. 

Florence, who also came when the Home was 
first opened, became the assistant to the nurse. 

Little three year old Hans ran upstairs to the 
Nursery one day, very dirty and all puffed up with 
importance, for he had a penny in his pocket. He 
said: "Now I am a big man. I have dirty overalls 
and money in my pocket." 

In 1929, Mrs. Westberg still President of the or- 
ganization, and the same Chairman of The Board of 
Managers, it was reported that during the year over 
one hundred children sorely in need of a home were 
turned away. 

It was with deep regret that Mrs. Hadley's resigna- 
tion, on account of ill health, was accepted. Her 
influence had been of the best. Many will never for- 
get her constant kindness. 

It was most fortunate that just at this time the 



46 Unto the Least of These 

Home secured Miss Mina Lichtner as Superintend- 
ent. To step into a work which calls for constant 
supervision over more than fifty children is no small 
task. Miss Lichtner, however, proved herself equal 
to the task in every way. She has remained at the 
Home from that time until the present. Too much 
cannot be said of her unfailing tact and sympathy, 
her gift for organization and her good influence over 
the children's lives. 

It was this year also that the League celebrated 
the tenth anniversary of the founding of The Chil- 
dren's Receiving Home. 

Looking back over the first decade the women 

found that it had indeed been "well worth while." 

Group divisions had been entirely forgotten, while 

for ten years the women had worked and prayed 

together for a common cause. 

"If we wor\ upon immortal souls, If we imbue 
them with right principles, With the just fear of God, 
and love for their fellow-men, We engrave upon 
those tablets, something which will brighten all Eter- 
nity. 

In 1930 Mrs. E. H. Ahrbecker took over the leader- 
ship of the organization and proved herself in every- 



Unto the Least of These 47 

way "a born leader," and a staunch friend of the 
Home. She had been interested and served it in 
many ways from its beginning. The Board of Man- 
agers held the same tireless Chairman. 

In 1930 Mrs. Ahrbecker announced the following 
bequests — $1,000.00 from the estate of John Siegfried, 
$75.00 from the estate of Mrs. Tillie Davy, and a be- 
quest of $5,000.00 from the estate of Dr. E. E. Hen- 
derson. 

Among the notable events of the year were the 
concerts given under the auspices of the League by 
the Midland College a Capella choir and the North- 
west Male Chorus. 

By this time the Board of Managers had established 
the precedent of Anniversary Luncheons. One not- 
able feature of that year's luncheon was the shower 
of Life and Associate memberships presided over 
so beautifully by Mrs. Fred Matson. Many have a 
vivid recollection of her on that day, lighting a can- 
dle as each life membership was presented. She 
has gone, but her light still shines brightly. Mrs. 
L. E. Hanson afterwards filled the same chairman- 
ship, as well as serving the Home in countless other 



48 U7ito the Least of These 

ways, but she, too, has been called by the Master 

whom she loved to serve through His little children. 

That year the report of the Chairman of The Board 

of Managers devoted most of its space to the children 

themselves, for truly 

"They are angels of God in disguise, 
His sunshine still sleeps in their tresses, 
His glory still gleatns in their eyes." 

She reported that as many as were of school age 
attended the Maywood Public schools. Miss Lichtner 
once told of how, with many misgivings, she had set 
out to visit the children's school, as every real mother 
does sometimes. She returned to the Home having 
heard not one unfavorable report — and each teacher 
spoke of the children's polite behavior, and of how 
their whole conduct reflected the atmosphere of the 
Home. 

The Principal of the Emerson School was once 
asked to comment on the children. He said, in 
part: "I am happy to say the children have given us 
less trouble than some who came from a home with 
parents to care for them, and I feel that this is 
largely due to the wonderful atmosphere in which 
they are surrounded outside of school." 



Unto the Least of These 49 

Outside of school they were given a well balanced 
day of play and work. The boys washed walls, cut 
grass, beat carpets and helped lay a driveway. 

The girls were taught to take pride in helping to 
keep their rooms, closets, lockers and dresser drawers 
in good condition. Moreover, they were taught to 
use a needle, making spreads for the younger chil- 
dren's beds, and even some of their own simple 
clothing. 

During that fall and winter there was a very seri- 
ous epidemic among the children. At one time 
thirteen children were in bed and the Home was in 
strict quarantine. 

One of the younger boys fell asleep, never to 
awaken again in this world. He was laid to rest 
in Arlington Cemetery. 

Miss Lichtner certainly arose to the occasion and 
with the aid of the other helpers "carried on" most 
willingly and efficiently. No extra help was needed. 
To prevent such an epidemic from spreading among 
the fifty-four children, who were there that year, was 
indeed a work of skill. 

One more outstanding event of that year was the 



50 Unto the Least of These 

first appearance of "The Children's Home Herald," 
a four page paper issued quarterly. 

This venture was sponsored by the Board of Trus- 
tees, with Mrs. G. P. Lottich as Editor-in-Chief. It 
soon proved to be a real news sheet and brought un- 
told numbers in closer touch with the Home. 

Too much cannot be said for it as a source of 
information and inspiration. Mrs. Lottich proved 
herself a brilliant and talented Editor and served as 
such for eight years. 

The work was then taken over by Mrs. I. M. Peter- 
son, one of the busiest workers for the Home, but 
always willing to attempt one more thing for the 
work in which she has been so interested for many 
years. 

If, in these brief pages, names or gifts have not 
been mentioned which should have been, some way 
or other, space was always found in The Children's 
Home Herald. It seems that nothing escapes the 
watchful eye of "Ye Editor." 

Interested friends and members of the League 
have been brought into very close touch with the 
children through this little sheet. For example, the 



Unto the Least of These 51 

very first issue told that eight of the larger boys 
joined the Boy Scouts, that from August to Novem- 
ber of that year seventy-five children had to be re- 
fused for lack of room, that an electric piano had 
been donated by a friend and that the boys sew^ed 
on their own buttons v^illingly to the merry tunes of 
the piano, that four of the children were confirmed 
that year by Rev. M. E. Boulton in St. John's Evan- 
gelical Church, Maywood, 111. Where else could 
such intimate glimpses of the children be given? 
It has not always been easy. There are postal laws 
to be complied with; mailing and addressing so 
many copies is a task in itself. Moreover, the chil- 
dren help in this work even to this day. The an- 
nouncements and reports are often a day or two late, 
but the little Herald never fails to arrive on time. 

1930 was the first year that the Board of Managers 
sent out a Christmas letter of appeal for checks. 
The results were gratifying. One interested friend 
wrote in sending her gift: 

"I consider this a privilege, as I am sure the chil- 
dren are worthy of every good gift. I regret that 
at this time I am limited to send this amount, as I 



52 Unto the Least of These 

would be glad to send more if it only were possible. 
Thank you for remembering me. Indeed, I feel the 
pleasure is all mine in helping in this small way." 

Sincerely, 



Christmas that year was especially worthy of note, 
for some of the children who had been dismissed 
returned Home! In fact, two of the boys who had 
been transferred to a boys' school wrote and asked 
permission to spend Christmas in the only real home 
they knew. They were there in their uniforms, 
with beaming faces. Mary, who was in training to 
be a nurse, was also there, and Lillian with a hus- 
band and a darling baby boy. It was a most happy 
reunion. 

In 1931 the Home operated under great financial 
difficulties, for this was the beginning of the grim 
years of "the depression." However, the President 
was able to report $234.00 from the Almas Cochran 
Estate, and a gift of $5,000.00 toward the Endow- 
ment Fund given by Miss Marie Hanson in loving 
memory of her father and mother. 

The Finance Committee also sold stamps that year 



Unto the Least of These 53 

netting the Treasury $1,500.00. The helpers at the 
Home willingly took a ten per cent cut in salary 
during the year, and at Christmas time no gifts were 
given to the helpers. 

Every effort, however, was made to not have the 
children feel the effect of the changed situation. 

At this time also more than twenty cases of illness 
developed among the children, but, once again, ow- 
ing to Miss Lichtner's untiring energy and the co- 
operation of the whole staff no extra help was needed. 
Fifty-seven children were cared for that year. 

This was also a notable year because Mary com- 
pleted her nurse's training at the Melrose Park Hos- 
pital and passed her state board examinations. In 
writing of her life at the Home, Mary said, "As I 
think of the days I spent at the Home my heart 
fills with gratitude, gratitude first to God, and then 
to the dear friends who have made such a Home 
possible for me and many others. My life has been 
richly blessed, not only with earthly gifts but with 
things I count far greater. It was at the Home I 
found the greatness of God's love, also the true 
value of real friends, friends who will inspire me 



54 Unto the Least of These 

to the better things in life. All that I ever hope to 
be will be but a reflection of the friends the Home 
has given me. Though I have been away for sev- 
eral years my heart is always there. It is my Home, 
memories still call me back. I shall always be proud 
of it!" 



CHAPTER 



In 1932 Mrs. E. J. Mosser v/as again elected President 
of the organization and Mrs. M. L. Kropf, Chairman 
of The Board of Managers. 

This was a hard year at the Home, and the officers 
and staff felt their responsibilities keenly. In her 
annual report the President said: "Through the 
faithful support of the members and friends it has 
been possible to continue through perhaps the most 
critical and serious times that have ever confronted 
the Home." In her message in The Children's Home 
Herald, she said: "I regret that my first message to 
you, as your new President, has to be of such a se- 
rious character." 

The Chairman of The Board of Managers devoted 
her entire article to the subject of daily supplies, ask- 
ing all to realize how much the Home needed in 
provisions in that grim year of the depression. 

Nevertheless there were many bright spots. The 

55 



56 Unto the Least of These 

justly famous Apollo Musical Club gave a benefit 
concert for the Home that year, as did the choirs of 
several churches — Christ, Redeemer, North Austin. 

Also the interest from the Cochran Estate was 
again paid into the Treasury through the efforts of 
Mr. Koch of St. Luke's Church. The Stamp Com- 
mittee also added to the income and the Daughter's 
Auxiliary continued their eJfTorts. 

That year the Elsie E. Arbuckle Clothing Fund 
was established by the husband of Elsie E. Arbuckle, 
a former Board Member who had passed to her re- 
ward the year previous. 

The children, however, continued to grow and de- 
velop despite the critical times. William graduated 
from the Proviso High School that June, his name 
having been placed on the "honor roll." In the fall 
he entered North Park Junior College with the min- 
istry in view. Two others graduated from eighth 
grade and entered High School in September. 

May Day was observed by the Kindergarten tots. 
They silently tiptoed through the hall, hanging May 
baskets on the door knobs of the helpers. 

One little boy spent the week-end with his mother. 



Unto the Least of These 57 

She served him canned creamed corn, whereupon 
the little one said: "I don't like corn this way, I like 
it on the bone — the way we had it at the Home." 

The officers were further encouraged by receiving 
a monthly donation from the Emergency Relief 
Fund. 

At the close of the year the Chairman of the Board 
of Managers thus challenged the members of the 
League: "Can we look forward to an easy year? 
Hardly — can we go backward, or can we even stand 
still ? Never before has it been so necessary to move 
on and on and on. "Please, good friends, face the 
call of these children along with all earnest and 
thoughtful men and women who know that the hope 
for the future lies in the youth of to-day." Most sin- 
cerely, Martha Louise Kropf. 

In 1933 Mrs. J. A. Leas was elected to serve as Pres- 
ident of the organization. She served wisely and 
well, having always the interest of the Home and the 
children at heart. In her first message she said: "The 
beauties of spring are unfolding but none compare 
with the beauties of a child's face. It is with much 
concern that we face the question — can we keep 
going.?" 



58 Unto the Least of These 

In October of that year through the news sheet she 
wrote: "The pantry shelves are empty and clothes 
are sorely needed." 

At the same time the ever faithful Chairman of 
The Board of Managers urged all members and 
friends to read the 21st chapter of St. John and apply 
the words "Feed my lambs" to the children in the Re- 
ceiving Home. She reported this to be the most anx- 
ious time of the Home's existence. The supply room 
was practically empty, but she added — "My faith tells 
me the shelves will be filled." 

Every effort was made at the Home to reduce ex- 
penses. The Nursery and the Kindergarten were 
closed, as was also the old building. The number of 
workers was reduced, and the remaining ones did 
extra work cheerfully, even though for many months 
wages were unpaid. 

Tag Day once again helped out in this critical time, 
as did the quota received from the Community Fund. 
One Brotherhood responded to the appeal made to 
iill the empty shelves with cereals, and another 
Brotherhood started a milk fund, and several devoted 
Ladies' Aids canned all day long to fill the empty 



Unto the Least of These 59 

jars. Once again the interest from the Cochrane 
Estate helped, and putting all together the crisis was 
passed. 

On June 19 of that year The Lutheran Woman's 
League celebrated its fortieth anniversary with a 
luncheon given at the Palmer House, to which all out 
of town Lutherans to the Century of Progress were 
invited. The first speaker, Mrs. Emmy Evald, who 
had so much to do with the organization of the 
League, gave a stirring history of the same. It was 
also an event to have Miss Jane Addams, of Hull 
House fame, deliver an address. 

After the program and luncheon a Tea was served 
for the out of town guests at the Home. Cars were 
provided for transportation and much interest was 
aroused for the Home and the children. 

On December 1 of that year, at the suggestion of 
Sister Caroline, League members and friends met at 
the Home for a period of prayer and praise. All felt 
the nearness of God when appeal after appeal was 
made for the children, and all left feeling that they 
would indeed be cared for. It was reported that this 
was the outstanding event of the year. So great was 



60 Unto the Least of These 

the impression it left that it was decided to have an 
hour of prayer and praise at the annual meeting of 
the organization. 

Meantime, every effort had been made to have the 
children live normally, just as in other years. 

Five of the boys were confirmed that year by Rev. 
M. E. Boulton, who has always been interested in the 
lives of the children and an influence for good. 

And Christmas was the same gala event it had al- 
ways been. One of the boys wrote about it in The 
Children's Home Herald. He said : "At noon on De- 
cember 13 we each received our dollar which had 
been so kindly provided for us by friends. These 
dollars were our only means of buying gifts for each 
other. 

"Mrs. Krauss, who represented these kind friends, 
handed us the dollars amid much excitement on our 
part. Mrs. Krauss was excited, too, for it is much 
fun for her to hand out these dollars year after year — 
our Christmas dollars. 

"During the week before Christmas one could see 
both the little children and the older ones going to 
the store, especially the five and ten cent stores — try- 



Uiito the Least of These 61 

ing to make the dollars go as far as they possibly 
could. 

"On Christmas Eve the spirit of Christmas filled 
the air. How we waited for the supper provided by 
the same good friends! 

"All were happy over the gifts that were received, 
and there was a continual talking about these pres- 
ents. (I don't want the helpers to know this, but it 
probably went on almost all night.) 

"To all who made this Christmas one of the best 
we ever had, a hearty Thank you!" 

It was reported that this strenuous and critical year 
had been a year of many blessings. 

There had been prevailing good health among the 
fifty children, the school reports were all satisfactory, 
some above the average. 

The Clothing Committee had been right on the 
job. The Bundle and Supply Committee had kept 
the children from going hungry, and the Daughter's 
Auxiliary had proved a staunch support as always. 

The report closed with these words: "A great All- 
seeing, All-powerful Spirit, has been watching over 
the Maywood Family, I am sure." 



62 Unto the Least of These 

It was 1934 and the League again elected Mrs. E. J. 
Mosser President. This was the first time in the his- 
tory of the organization that a third term had been 
given to anyone. Therefore, the action showed un- 
limited respect and confidence in Mrs. Mosser and 
great interest on her part that she was willing to serve 
in such a critical time. The Board of Managers 
showed their unfailing trust and confidence in elect- 
ing once again the same Chairman. 

The tension lessened somewhat that year. A large 
part of the Augusta Stoelker estate was paid, and 
several special events were planned by a hard work- 
ing Finance Committee to increase the income, one of 
the main ones being the collection of a "Mile of Pen- 
nies." 

During the passing years many wonderful outings 
had been given the children, picnics, wiener roasts, 
parties, but perhaps the most important event to the 
children that year was the very hot day on which 
they were taken to visit "The Century of Progress." 

That the work of the Home was still very neces- 
sary and very much appreciated is shown by the fol- 
lowing letter: 



Unto the Least of These 63 

"Dear Friends: 

"Just a few lines to express my appreciation for 
your Home. It has been a great blessing to me, hav- 
ing sheltered my three boys, two of them for five and 
a half years and the oldest boy for three years. It gave 
me an opportunity to work during the week and visit 
them on Sunday. We have established a home to- 
gether again but will always be grateful to the Home 
at May wood." (Signed) "One of the Mothers." 

It has always been the policy of the Home to re- 
turn the children to their parents just as soon as cir- 
cumstances would permit, but naturally it took longer 
in some cases than in others. 

Once again in The Children's Home Herald sev- 
eral of the children wrote happily and enthusiastically 
of what Christmas at the Home that year had meant 
to them, and always there was heavy emphasis laid 
on their "Christmas dollars." 

At the close of the year the President said: 

"The co-operation given us in the Mile of Pen- 
nies and the Sale, held at our Home, has made it pos- 
sible for us to report that, even though times are still 
serious, interest in our Home has increased and has 



64 Unto the Least of These 

made it possible for us at the close of the year to feel 
that our financial condition is better than a year 
ago." 

The ever faithful, self-sacrificing Superintendent 
reported that the most important bills had been met, 
including the back salaries, which, she said, made it 
seem as if a big black cloud which had been hovering 
over the Children's Receiving Home had passed over 
and the Home was again enjoying the sunshine of 
brighter days. 

It was reported that, with over seven thousand 
children passing through the Juvenile Court every 
year, it was but a small share to provide for from fifty 
to sixty children. 

It was also said that some of the parents of chil- 
dren in the Home did not trouble to visit their chil- 
dren once a year. "Where," the question was asked, 
"should the blame lie for the tragic crimes reported 
daily in the papers?" The report closed with a quo- 
tation from Ruskin: 

"There is no wealth but life, and that nation is the 
richest that builds the greatest number of noble 
homes and beings." 




o 
o 

z 



Z 

Q 

2 

U 

til 



CHAPTER 



7 



Mrs. John L. Forch, Jr., was next elected President 
of the organization and proved exactly the right 
leader for those strenuous years, 1935-1938. There 
was no change of Chairman of The Board of Man- 
agers. These were years of hard work and develop- 
ment at the Home. The children, too, developed 
in a healthy normal manner. 

Sister Caroline reported two lovely boys brought to 
her attention. The mother was badly in need of hos- 
pitalization but had no place to leave the children. 
Once again the doors of the Home opened wide, and 
the little lads were given a happy home while the 
mother was cared for. 

One of the older boys who had been placed else- 
where wrote and asked to come Home for Palm Sun- 
day and Easter, saying that he always helped around 
the house, especially sweeping the halls, and added: 

"I will be thankful if you let mc come." 

65 



66 Unto the Least of These 

Two of the boys were confirmed in St. John's 
church that year. Miss Lichtner told that one of the 
boys often took his calendar in hand, counting the 
days till he could wear his long trousers. 

The Daughter's Auxiliary entertained the children 
that year by giving them an outing at the Brookfield 
Zoo. The Daughters said afterward that they were 
much impressed with the appearance and conduct of 
the children. They looked and acted like little ladies 
and gentlemen. 

This was but one of the many outings given the 
children that year. About Christmas one boy wrote: 

"Christmas is an experience in beauty if you would 
become acquainted with the candle light service of 
the children. Even nov/ I find myself leafing the 
pages of Isaiah, picking out the Old Testament 
prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus and lighting 
again the candles with the boys at the table. 

"Christmas is an experience in love. About a v/eek 
before Christmas all of us would receive the dollars 
to spend as we pleased. Maybe you have never known 
what it is to get something for your roommate. 
Christmas does open your heart." 



Unto the Least of These 67 

What a beautiful and unusual way for a hoy to 
write, but, not to be outdone, one of the girls that 
very same year said: 

"You, through your thoughtfulness, have given me 
a chance to call one place Home." 

At the close of the year the President reported that 
the finances of the Home were gradually getting into 
better shape. The dense clouds seemed to be lifting 
and all concerned renewed their courage. 

It became necessary that year to put a new roof on 
the building. 

The balance of the Stoelker Legacy was paid in 
full, and another bequest in the Will of Mrs. Andrew 
Thelander was reported. Mrs. Thelander was one of 
the earliest members of the League. 

That year the Treasurer, assisted by the Finance 
Committee, prepared a financial statement and sent 
it to the Chicago Council of Social Agencies, asking 
for assistance from the Community Fund. 

It was reported that the support of each child in 
the Home for one year amounts to $252.00, because 
the pantry shelves are always filled by friends. 

Just by way of contrast, at St. Charles, Illinois, a 



68 Unto the Least of These 

State corrective farm for boys, the State is taxed 
$490.00 a year to keep a boy. 

In 1936 the Superintendent reported that 1900 
copies of the Children's Home Herald are sent out, 
but that the average attendance on the "big days" at 
the Home, Christmas, Founders' Day and the June 
meeting is about 300, so that about sixteen hundred 
friends miss out on these occasions. But these figures 
did not prevent the "big days" from being both in- 
teresting and inspiring in 1936, as in every other year. 

The President was happy to report a sounder finan- 
cial condition though some very expensive improve- 
ments has been found necessary, such as a new hot 
water boiler and water softener. 

The bond issue also became due that year, and it 
became necessary to refinance. A very efficient Com- 
mittee, headed by Mrs. E. Sallet, who had for so long 
had the interests of the Home at heart, saved the or- 
ganization about $400.00 in cost, and much more in 
interest, as they v/ere able to reduce the rate of in- 
terest from hst per cent to four. Because of their 
kindness and consideration in dealing with the bond- 
holders, a reputation for fairness was established. 



Unto the Least of These • 69 

A financial statement was once again sent to the 
Council of Social Agencies, hoping for recognition in 
1937 because of the interest the Lutheran Committee 
showed in the matter. 

The Chairman of The Board of Managers in her 
report for that year again thanked Dr. Peters, of 
Maywood, for his time and skill in helping to keep 
the children in good health. She also thanked the 
Deaconess Hospital, which so willingly and gener- 
ously gave professional and institutional care when- 
ever it was needed by the children, for you cannot 
compute the care of the sick in dollars and cents. 

But when it came to thanking the Norwegian 

Lutheran Church for all that Sister Caroline had 
given in service, in human love and unerring judg- 
ment for eighteen years, words failed. 

The Superintendent reported for 1936 forty-six 
children coming from twenty-nine families, one or- 
phan and eight half-orphans. The mother of two lit- 
tle ones was in the Tuberculosis Hospital, and moth- 
ers of seven were in Insane Asylums. Twenty-eight 
of the children came from broken homes. 

Surely a report such as this answered the question 



70 Unto the Least of These 

which had been so often asked in the early years of 
the Home's existence: 

"Is there a need for a Home such as this?" 

In 1937 the same trustworthy officers and Super- 
intendent were at the helm and asked the members 
and friends to face the coming year with joy. 

Life went on normally at the Home. Two of the 
girls were confirmed on Palm Sunday, and as every 
other year, they were suitably clothed by kind friends. 

The Home was a busy place during house-clean- 
ing time. Just as in any normal home the children 
took part in the activities. The building is a big 
place to clean — so many rooms, closets, doors, win- 
dows. The bigger boys washed and cleaned the ceil- 
ings and the janitor did the calcimining. 

A thousand-dollar gift was received that year from 
Miss Ida Thalen in memory of her brother. During 
the passing years it is only fair to say other gifts of a 
thousand dollars had been made, but as they went 
into the general fund received no special mention at 
the request of the donors. 

The Annual Luncheon was outstandmg because 
Mrs. Walrath, founder of the Evanston Cradle, was 
the speaker. There are thousands of homes through- 



Unto the Least of These 71 

out the land happier because of the babies placed 
in them by the Cradle. 

That year nearly all of the children had the op- 
portunity to go on a vacation. Those who stayed at 
home were given outings at Grant Park, the Navy 
Pier and other parks. 

Right here would be a good place to mention in 
passing, that Miss Stumo, the Girls' Matron, has for 
nine years taken from six to ten children to the same 
place each summer for the entire vacation. 

Just before Christmas that year a little new girl and 
her two brothers were admitted to the Home. The 
younger children gathered about her and asked her 
many questions in eager childish ways. The little one 
told them a sad story of her mother who went out 
one day to hunt for work. While she was gone some 
men came and carried all the furniture out into the 
street. The children were put out, too, and the door 
was locked. "Oh," said the little one sadly, "My 
mother cried so hard when she came home and found 
us children and all our furniture out in the street." 

The other children were much impressed and to 
brighten her sadness commenced to tell her all the 
wonders of a Christmas at the Children's Receiving 



72 Unto the Least of These 

Home, mentioning the famous "dollars," the pres- 
ents, the bountiful dinner and the lighting of the 
Christmas candles evening after evening, until on 
Christmas Eve twenty-four candles, representing 
tw^enty-four prophecies, are burning. "I remember 
my verse yet," said one, "Who is the King of Glory ? 
The Lord of Hosts — He is the King of Glory." 

The face of the new^ child brightened. "I am glad 
yjt are here," she said, "for we have no other home." 

Is there a need for the Children's Receiving 
Home?" 

Christmas at the Home that year saw the largest 
audience which has ever been present gathered to lis- 
ten to the children's program. 

Many improvements had been made in the prop- 
erty at that time. A new oil burner was established, 
many of the rooms painted at a minimum cost as the 
janitor did the painting. The children's playground 
was improved. It was encouraging that the state of 
the Treasury seemed to warrant these improvements. 

A financial statement was once more prepared and 
sent to the Council of Social Agencies, and the good 
news was received that an allocation had been made 
to the Home from the Community Fund. 



Unto the Least of These 73 

The Treasurer of the League, Mrs. Sallct, the 
Chairman of the Finance Committee, Mrs. Val- 
bracht, the Lutheran Committee and Mr. J. P. Hov- 
land are due much credit for their untiring eflforts in 
this undertaking. 

In her annual report for that year, the Chairman 
of The Board of Managers devoted some space to ex- 
plaining the function of the Board, which meets at 
least ten times a year, and, sometimes oftener. 

(The Board meets at eleven a. m. and is in session 
often till four p. m.) After finishing w^ith old busi- 
ness, plus reports from the President and Treasurer 
of the organization, Miss Lichtner brings to the Board 
complete information as regards the happenings at 
the Home. This includes the staff, reports as to the 
amount of supplies from interested friends, linens, 
blankets, etc., but the larger part of the time is taken 
over in concentrating on questions and problems per- 
taining to the care of the children. 

If one v^ere good at figures the number of hours 
in tv^^enty years these devoted women have spent for 
the good of the Home could be computed, but the 
energy consumed, the love, the devotion, could never 
be estimated in numbers. 



CHAPTER 

8 



In 1938 Mrs. E. F. Valbracht was elected President 
of the League and the same Chairman of the Board 
of Managers re-elected. They served wisely and well 
through what proved to be one of the most prosper- 
ous and pleasant years at the Home. In fact, Mrs. 
Valbracht said that she was convinced, coming in 
such close touch with the Home as her office required, 
that conditions there were as nearly ideal as they 
could possibly be in this type of work. This ideal 
condition could have only been attained, she said, 
under such leadership as that of the Superintendent 
and the Chairman of the Board of Managers. 

Life at the Home that year was both pleasant and 
normal. The usual 1095 meals were served, and it is 
a pretty sight to see the children gathered at the table 
in their beautifully decorated dining room, where 
each window boasts a flower box made by the chil- 
dren. 

74 




J. B. West 



SOME OF 




Mildred Fuszek 



OUR ALUMNI 



Unto the Least of These 75 

There is no noise, no confusion, and each httle head 
is bowed for Grace reverently before and after each 
meal. 

Four girls were confirmed that year. They were 
in a class of twenty-two who went to the altar of St. 
John's Church, Maywood, Illinois. Two of the boys 
graduated from High School and four from Grade 
School. 

It was in May of that year that the children them- 
selves formed what they called an Alumni Associa- 
tion, composed of children from the Home who are 
now earning their own living. Thirty-three answered 
the first call and planned to have such a reunion an- 
nually. Many telegrams and letters were received 
from those who could not be present. It speaks vol- 
umes for the far reaching influence of the Home that 
the children who had left its shelter would form 
such an organization. 

There were the two graduate nurses, the Orderly 
in a Hospital, the boy who now supports his mother, 
the one in the Navy, the four married girls, the one 
working in Field's, one in Carson's, one in an office, 
one in the Maywood Public Service Company, and 



76 Unto the Least of These 

last, but not least, the boy who gave himself to the 
Gospel Ministry. 

The first meeting of the Children's Receiving 
Home Alumni was held on May 8, 1938. William 
Kmet presided. It was opened with devotions, fol- 
lowed by a piano and violin duet. "Reminiscent 
speeches" were then made by several of the Alumni. 
Each told a little about his life and experience since 
leaving the Home. Then roll call and election of 
officers. 

Motion was made and carried that this be an an- 
nual affair and that it be formed into an organization. 

The "big days" at the Home that year were just as 
important and showed increasing interest. 

The one outstanding event was the reopening on 
December 6 of the old Home. This was a happy day. 
Mrs. Sallet, whose mother was one of the first work- 
ers for the Home, and her committee deserve great 
credit for their work of rehabilitating the old build- 
ing. All the work of cleaning and decorating was 
done by the janitor, assisted by an older boy. 

The house warming was well attended, and a pro- 
gram of reminiscences was given. Some of the old 
home-like atmosphere was recaptured. 



Unto the Least of These 77 

After this more serious part of the program three 
of the boys gave a Punch and Judy show which 
showed great originality on the part of the boys. One 
of the boys also gave a violin solo. The children of 
the Home certainly manifest much talent. 

The re-opening of the old building provided rooms 
for three of the helpers, also living rooms for the 
care-taker and family, and a beautiful large light 
sewing room to be presided over by Mrs. Eckert, 
Chairman of the Clothing Committee. 

Here the groups from various churches will spend 
many busy days, sewing, mending, caring for a grow- 
ing family. Thirteen new children were received in 
1938; the additional number was taken care of be- 
cause of the opening of the old building. Sister Caro- 
line immediately seized the opportunity to bring out 
two Filipino girls whose mother had deserted them. 
Despite their racial difference, they were received 
with open arms by the other children — some of the 
older girls delighting in combing their soft, long 
tresses. In closing her year's report Miss Lichtner 
said: "We need your prayers, we need your help, we 
need your talents and we need your friendship to suc- 
ceed in our work." 



78 Unto the Least of These 

The home sheltered sixty-three children in 1938. 
On May 3, 1939, William Kmet graduated from the 
Theological Seminary and was ordained at Carthage, 
Illinois. Miss Lichtner attended the ordination serv- 
ice. He is now serving in Davenport, Iowa. 

Elaine graduated from High School in June. It 
had been her one wish for years to further her edu- 
cation in beauty culture. Through the unfailing 
kindness of Mrs. William Meyer, that faithful friend 
of the children, her wish will be granted and she will 
continue her education along that line. 



CHAPTER 



9 



The same leaders, President and Chairman of the 
Board of Managers, were elected to serve in 1939, 
Miss Lichtner remaining as Superintendent of the 
Home. 

They are still serving as this short history of the 
Children*s Receiving Home is being written, serving 
as always, wisely, actively and unselfishly. 

On January 4, 1939, a qualified Case Worker was 
added to the staff of workers. 

On Palm Sunday four boys and one girl were con- 
firmed. They were neatly and appropriately dressed. 
They looked happy and confident as they answered 
the questions put to them by Rev. Boulton. Miss 
Lichtner herself had devoted so much time to this 
phase of their Christian training that on the Satur- 
day Eve before Palm Sunday one of the children said 
to her: "Don't you think we might have one more 

session with you before we are confirmed?" 

79 



80 Unto the Least of These 

Olga graduated from the Augustana Hospital in 
the spring and passed her State Board Examinations 
with the highest possible grades. 

On May 7, 1939, the second annual meeting of the 
Children's Receiving Home Alumni was held, Wil- 
liam Kmet again presiding. Once again the meet- 
ing opened with devotionals, and greetings were read 
from those not present. 

One lad very touchingly wrote that though he 
could not be present he could send a dollar "to buy 
something for the little children," and added: "I 
wish I could send more, perhaps later. I often recall 
the time when I was just a small boy and now I am 
six feet one and weigh one hundred and seventy-five 
pounds. 

"Now that I am older I begin to appreciate what 
the Home did for me and how bad we kids were at 
times. I want to thank you for giving me a real 
Home and teaching me to be courteous and kind. I 
imagine all the children feel the same way." 

Straight from a boy's heart that was a real tribute. 

After a necessary amount of business at this second 
meeting Mrs. Kropf gave a very profitable talk on 



Unto the Least of These 81 

her trip to Spitzbergen — Land of the Midnight Sun. 

Encouraged perhaps by the example of the Alum- 
ni the children themselves have organized two other 
societies, Comrades of Christ and The Home Guards. 

Realizing that it is only normal and natural for 
children at a certain age to band together, Miss Licht- 
ner encourages their organizations. They help to 
satisfy the "gang instinct." She gives them her per- 
sonal attention and attends the meetings, securing 
speakers and allowing them occasional refreshments. 
In the by-laws, formulated by the Home Guards 
themselves, the following occurs — "If a person has to 
be asked to leave the meeting three times in succes- 
sion for disobedience, he is automatically put out of 
our Club." 

For twenty years the June meeting of the organ- 
ization has been held on the beautiful grounds of the 
Home. Groups of women from the various churches 
take turns in serving a hot luncheon and afternoon 
refreshments. The children themselves furnish the 
program, which grows more and more delightful 
with each passing year. This year the climax was 
reached when, under the direction of Miss Lichtner, 



82 Unto the Least of These 

the children so perfectly rendered the Flower Oper- 
etta. 

At the present writing the majority of the children 
are away for the summer. Some of the children who 
were away on vacations, some with their own rela- 
tives, have at this writing become so home-sick for 
the Children's Receiving Home, neither eating nor 
sleeping, that they have returned to its shelter. 

Arrangements will be made to give the remaining 
children some form of an outing. Playground and 
garden equipment for the pleasure of the children 
has been purchased this year by a Memorial Fund, 
started by a gift from a member of the League, in 
honor of two beloved workers who but recently fin- 
ished their earthly task, Mrs. E. F. Krauss and Mrs. 
L. E. Hanson. 

Once again some of the workers fondly hoped 
that the old barn could be remodeled into a play- 
room for the growing boys, with cages around its 
sides for real live pets. Every normal growing boy 
needs a pet. 

Tag Day and the Sale are being planned for just 
as enthusiastically and Christmas will once more for 
the twentieth time be the high peak of the year. 



I 



1 



1 



Unto the Least of These 83 

The Daughter's Auxiliary report a special fund 
started for the purchase of a bond to help reduce the 
indebtedness of the corporation. They are "standing 
by" loyally and faithfully. When there are breaks in 
the ranks of The Lutheran Woman's League there 
are young, trained workers ready to fill the vacant 
places. 

On September 17, 1939, the forty-fifth anniversary 
of the organization of The Lutheran Woman's 
League, and the twentieth anniversary of the found- 
ing of the Home was celebrated. 

October 20, 1939, marks the twentieth anniversary 
Luncheon, stressing the story of the first twenty years. 
It is only natural then, that friends and supporters 
have a right to ask "Has it paid.^^" 

During the twenty years the Home has sheltered 
three hundred and fifty-two children. An effort has 
been made in this little volume to show how strongly 
the Home and its peaceful, home-like atmosphere 
has influenced their lives. Peace has been taught and 
practiced in the Home. No warlike toys, no war 
games are ever permitted. In a troubled warlike 
world this is something to be thankful for. More- 



84 Unto the Least of These 

over, the spiritual life is never neglected, not even 
w^hen healthy sturdy little bodies are emphasized. 

To give a son to the ministry is an honor to any 
Home. That the Receiving Home has a son now 
actively serving Christ and man is a glory and a pride. 

There is an old, old poem, which says "Till the 
wise years decide," and the wise years have decided. 

If in the past there have been some who misjudged 
and misunderstood the work it would be only fair to 
explain. The Children's Receiving Home at May- 
wood was not started to oppose or detract from any 
other home or work. 

It was founded and established that the women of 
The Lutheran Woman's League of Chicago and Vi- 
cinity might have a definite, specific object for which 
to work together. Together, that is the word. Dur- 
ing the twenty years at least seventy churches, repre- 
senting seven groups as well as some outside organ- 
izations, have worked hand in hand, breaking down 
all group divisions. Could it not be regarded as a 
prophecy and a fulfillment. An attempt to fulfill 
the Master's prayer } "That Ye all may be One."